We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Raising Terror? A Systematic Analysis of Archaeological Evidence and Interpretation into the Purpose of Hadrian’s Wall.

KITCHING, PAUL,JAMES (2024) Raising Terror? A Systematic Analysis of Archaeological Evidence and Interpretation into the Purpose of Hadrian’s Wall. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 16 April 2027.


How is evidential reasoning conducted in archaeology to enable us to refine our understanding of the past? This thesis explores this question using Hadrian’s Wall as a case study. The function of the Wall remains a controversial topic and has fallen from favour in recent research. However, not least given the Wall’s continuing importance in modern discourse, the question of function remains pertinent. This thesis collates and examines the archaeological evidence for the Wall, including how that knowledge has itself been constructed, and how it corresponds with multiple working hypotheses. This approach aims to mitigate bias, ensure multivocality, and encourage reflexive thinking.

The research examines existing interpretations of the Wall and tacks between them, drawing out consistencies to generate a new interpretation centred on deterrence. The latter considers the Wall as a means to inspire awe and enable punitive action, focussing on the cognitive and perceptual elements of Roman power. By examining both the theory and prevalence of deterrence in classical antiquity this research seeks to assess the Wall from a new perspective, but one nevertheless rooted in the Roman experience. Examining the Wall’s capacity to inspire awe and terror, rather than as a static demarcation of the limits of imperial pretensions, can challenge the dichotomy in Roman scholarship between the archaeology of conquest and post-conquest limes studies.

This thesis aims to capture the ongoing debates surrounding evidence and interpretation and use these as a catalyst, rather than an obstacle, to further research. The inherent subjectivity of archaeological data and theory does not negate a testing approach; rather, examining the relationship between a number of theories and the available evidence can challenge assumptions, prompt new avenues of research and contribute to the continuing discussion around frontiers and artificial boundaries.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Epistemology; Archaeological Reasoning; Roman Frontiers; Hadrian's Wall
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Apr 2024 11:54

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter